The News and Sensitive People

You don’t have to be terribly empathetic to get upset by watching the news. If you are very empathetic, though, the news become a real trial. We get upset by all the awful things that are happening in the world, depressed about the lack of compassion, overwhelmed by the feelings of despair which the people in those stories must have experienced – because we share them. I have struggled with this for a long time and still sometimes do. But there are some strategies that help a lot, which I’m going to share today.

Watching the news can be tough for empathetic and sensitive people. Here are 3 strategies for coping with staying informed.

It’s tempting to just stop watching the news altogether. After all, there’s nothing we can do – we just get really bummed out everytime. However, it’s also a fact that a democracy cannot work with uninformed citizens. And people look at you strangely when they mention a story that has been all over the news lately and you go “Uh, what was that?”. And finally, maybe there is something you can do, sometimes – like with the current wave of refugees all over Europe, which can only begin to be handled because plenty of normal people volunteer to help -, but you have to know about that first. So I’d like to make a case here for keeping up with the news, even when it’s hard… who am I kidding – even when it’s terrifying. Here’s what helps me cope with staying informed.

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Why empathy is a superpower

I have been debating whether or not I should tell you, but… I have a super power. Not a secret identity, though – my super self is my everyday self. Which is just how it should be!


You may be snickering or rolling your eyes now. Empathy? What a lame super power! Well, if you’ve got a minute, I’d like to explain why I do think it’s indeed an incredibly valuable skill, one that, in theory, 99.9% of all humans possess, but that is not really valued enough in our culture, relegated to the realm of ‘feminine’, ‘bad for business’ and optional’. As a consequence, many people do not realise the full potential of what being empathetic really means, and how tremendously useful it can be.

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